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FOX (שׁוּעָל, H8785, fox Eng. VSS except Ps 63:10 and Lam 5:18, jackal RSV; ἀλώπηξ, G273, fox).

There is general agreement about this tr., but foxes and jackals are alike in size and form, and can easily be confused. Three species of fox live in Pal. and Egypt—the Red Fox, which is found in a number of forms over much of the old world, and two desert species, with large ears, the better known of these being the small Fennec Fox. Foxes are largely nocturnal, esp. in hot dry country, and spend the day safely and comfortably in their holes, or earths, as the Lord pointed out (Matt 8:20). Their fondness for fruit, esp. grapes, is mentioned Song of Solomon. The passage in Judges 15:5ff. has caused considerable comment. The action was certainly far from humane, as were many things done by Samson and his enemies, but the effect of releasing 150 pairs of foxes (more prob. jackals, which would be more easily caught in numbers) in ripe corn would be devastating. A similar cruel custom is recorded in Rom. times when foxes with torches tied to their tails were hunted in the circus at the feast of Ceres. Brer Fox has appeared in stories and fables since Gr. and Rom. times, but in Pal. and Iraq the jackal usually takes its place. In these stories the fox is cunning and crafty, and the Lord used this metaphor in one of His rare critical comments when He referred to Herod as “that fox” (Luke 13:32). See Jackal.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

See Dragon; Jackal.

Alfred Ely Day.

See also

  • Animals